High School

The Dalton Plan in the High School

Through the Dalton Plan, High School students learn to make educated choices, employ their free time constructively, and appreciate the unique worth of each individual.

House, Assignment, and Lab provide the underpinnings for the High School's focus on courage and empathy, creativity and scholarship, and independence and collaboration.

House is the daily gathering of sixteen to twenty-five students with two faculty advisors. Each House consists of students from all four grades who serve as resources for each other. The relationship between House Advisor and advisee is generally a four year relationship. The House Advisor gets to know the student advisee well and is an academic advisor, an advocate, and a confidant. 

The Assignment structures the classroom experience. Individual Assignments generally take four to six weeks to complete and serve as guides to student learning. Often, Assignments offer opportunities for students to pursue a topic in a unique way and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of forms. Ideally, an Assignment is a starting point for learning and, through Lab, students may individualize and extend their learning. The one-to-one or small group format of Lab fosters close relationships between students and teachers.

List of 3 items.

  • House

    The House is a key component in the High School. Houses are heterogeneously grouped with students from grades nine through twelve. As the basic social unit in the school, the House becomes a critical part of a student's time spent at Dalton. House Advisors are the primary communication link between the school and the home, and between the student and the school. As the student's advocate and confidant, the Advisor must play a vital role in monitoring the advisee's academic, social, and emotional well-being.

    In daily short House meetings, attendance is taken, announcements are read, and messages passed on. At this time, Advisors can arrange for individual appointments to pursue any special interests or needs. Longer meetings (Long House) are devoted to discussions and activities designed to bring the House closer together as a group and to address issues which directly concern the advisees' growth and development as thoughtful, aware, and caring members of the community. Houses are also sometimes involved in community service projects.
  • Assignment

    The Assignment, central to the pedagogy of the High School, is a written document (often digital) which introduces the student to a new topic or topics to be covered within a given course's curriculum. In so doing, the Assignment also lists the numerous learning avenues which a student may follow to arrive at a better understanding of the topic and the learning tasks for which they will be held responsible. While the Assignment helps students individualize their learning opportunities, it also enables them to learn how to organize time over a period of weeks and gives them a useful perspective on the cognitive and skill areas to be pursued.
  • Lab

    Another unique aspect of the Dalton Plan is the concept of the Laboratory, which provides students the opportunity for individual consultation with teachers or for small group interaction with peers as they pursue and extend the study prescribed in the Assignment. Lab enables students to personalize their learning experience.

    Students make regular appointments to plan individualized work, review projects in process, exams taken, or seek clarification. Teachers may require Lab periods, but often students are free to choose which Lab they will attend during Lab periods. Making thorough use of the Lab is of primary importance to High School students, since it is the major opportunity students have to personalize their learning experience. It is in Lab that High School students can arrange for independent study projects and can enrich or accelerate the Assignment to fit their singular needs or interests.